Danny and I had the opportunity to go back to Kompas Park Youth Camp in Ukraine this summer, and it was an encouraging week for many reasons. Both of us have volunteered at camp multiple times over the years (this was Danny’s 12th year!), and we praise God that He’s allowed us to be a part of this ministry over the years. There is something truly relaxing and peacefully familiar about driving through Khreschatyk Village into Kompas Park.
As we reflected on this year’s Youth Camp, we both felt encouraged by how we saw God at work - through the volunteer leaders, campers, staff, and activities. This isn’t to say there weren’t challenging moments, as well. Lack of sleep, a lot of vigorous activities (especially for Danny), and the ever-present language barrier led to moments of frustration and the increased recognition that our bodies are getting older and less resilient every year! However, we left camp feeling encouraged and spiritually revitalized.
One reason for encouragement was the faithfulness of the leaders who come back to camp every year. These leaders patiently lead the campers during the week at Kompas Park, but many of them also spend time investing in the lives of the kids throughout the year. Their servant hearts are evident in the ways they invest in these kids’ spiritual, social and emotional growth.
This growth is the second reason why Danny and I were encouraged. One exciting part of coming back to Kompas Park over the years is seeing campers grow up. Specifically, in the past few years we have been able to see Shpola orphans and graduates grow up through Kompas Park and other Hope Now programs. When they first started coming to camp, these kids were emotionally immature - either too clingy or absent, often violent, and overall did not know how to express their emotions in a healthy way. However, this year we saw many of these kids take on leadership roles in their teams. They were confident, compassionate, and showed a true passion for Christ and His Word. It was very exciting to see how God has been using Ukrainian leaders and Hope Now programs to touch the hearts of these kids.
Lastly, Danny and I were encouraged because this was the first opportunity for us to spend time together with our sponsored child, Artem from Shpola Orphanage. Danny was able to play with him and encourage him, and I was able to spend more time hugging him and getting to know him better. It was a blessing for us to be able to share precious time together.
Each year, it is hard for us to leave Kompas Park as it is one of the highlights of our year. This year, we left ever more thankful for God’s power and grace in our own lives and the lives of others. Check it out for yourself, by watching this short video
These programs only continue with financial help from donors like you. There are still 4 weeks of summer camp left – 2 weeks of music camp and 2 weeks of Widow’s Camp. To support Kompas Park camps, consider giving a gift at kompaspark.org. You can donate to our Volunteer Support fund to help us bring volunteer leaders to camp, gift a Summer Camp Scholarship to send a Ukrainian to Kompas Park for a week, or give to Where Needed Most to help with our current camp needs (at the moment, Sports Equipment is needed.) May God continue to bless Kompas Park and all who have been blessed by this little slice of heaven in Ukraine.
By: Anna & Danny Knight
I was thrilled to return to Ukraine again this summer to serve at Hope Now’s Kid’s Camp. I wanted a break from my normal routine and to be with my Ukrainian friends again. I desired to be in a different culture and to see the children I’ve gotten to know over the years. I was excited about the normalcy of going to Ukraine again in the summer. But I wasn’t necessarily ready for conviction…
So often I fail at loving people the way Christ calls me to. I am quickly thrown off by my own selfish desires, focusing on my own agenda rather than the needs and wants of others. Truthfully, as Christ followers, we should be constantly in a state of loving others. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to dislike people who are different from us rather than love them. But Jesus told us to literally love our enemies (which is way easier in theory than in practice, but yet I am called to do this). He modeled what real love looks like; He is love. If I’m honest, I fail every day at loving people like Jesus did.